Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

Re: Oshiomhole for President

DSM and UAD joint statement

Re: Oshiomhole for President

The United Action for Democracy (UAD) and Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) receive with positive enthusiasm the reported decision of the Nigerian Labour Congress’s NEC asking Adams Oshiomhole, its outgoing president, to run for presidency or any other elective post in the forthcoming 2007 general elections.

According to the NLC Deputy President, Abdulwaheed Omar who briefed the media after the NEC meeting of July 12, 2006, the Congress would no longer watch by the sideline while politicians decide the fate of Nigerians and sway to conform their individual and group interests.

Secondly, he noted that the Congress has come to a conclusion that none of the contestants that have declared interest in the number one job could boast of having the requisite experience and vision more than Oshiomhole. To cap it, Omar said that the NLC would provide all necessary support and logistics to ensure that Oshiomhole succeeds.

Reacting to NEC’s decision in this regard, Oshiomhole himself was quoted thus: “my life has always been about people, to put smile in the faces of people. I will never try to compromise on this, governance should be about people, it has been my guiding principle. Labour has been my primary constituency, I will not fail it.” (THISDAY July 13, 2006)

The UAD and DSM regard the NLC NEC’s decision as being generally in consonance with our long standing demand that Labour should, in collaboration with all other pro-masses’ organisations and elements, put in place a machinery towards the formation of a working peoples’ political platform with a view to take political power from the hands of self-serving Capitalist elements and in their place, put in power a government that is committed to implement policies in the interest of the working masses and the poor in general.

For us therefore, the candidacy of an Adams Oshiomhole should not be treated as an isolated phenomenon, but rather as part of a general labour spearheaded political alternative to the anti- poor economic and political stance of all shades of Capitalist politicians. In this respect, we urge the NLC to immediately put in place necessary programme of action that can provide the needed Labour and grass root support to actualize the political objectives and the mission of Oshiomhole and that of other labour and pro-masses’ candidates. Only a political party built and supported actively and massively by the working masses themselves can bring about a situation where Labour backed candidates can emerge victorious in electoral contests with capitalist politicians using looted funds to ensure their own success at all cost.

The main challenge, therefore, is about taking conscious steps to build a Labour oriented political platform and not about looking for a platform through which Adams and other radical/progressive aspirants can merely ventilate their personal ambitions.

Towards this end, we hope that the NLC leadership would support us to immediately reactivate LASCO as a step towards building a formidable mass working peoples’ party that is truly committed to a comprehensive implementation of pro-masses’ politics. Open, democratic meetings and conferences that can discuss these issues should be rapidly organised across the country. A date within the next four months should be set for a democratic national meeting to decide a platform and national candidates and a campaign begun to make it a truly representative gathering of Nigeria’s working people and poor masses.

On the surface, the capitalist politicians can seem too powerful for a financially weak labour oriented political platform to confront. However, this to us is merely one side of the coin. Given the Labour movement’s national spread, a genuine Labour oriented political platform raising key socio-economic issues touching the lives of the masses can, if it is serious, be rapidly built within a short period of time. But this can only be achieved if such a platform is prepared to start to fight on these issues now and shows that mass struggle will continue independently of whether or not candidates are elected in individual elections. Against the background of the mass appeal which individual labour leaders like Oshiomhole already have, a pro-masses political platform can be rapidly built within a short period of time if the Labour leaders show they are serious. Even if such a platform is not strong enough to dislodge the capitalist politicians from power come 2007, it will nonetheless be strong enough to serve the ruling class a strong notice from Labour that the battle to bring to an end their rule of mass misery in the midst of super abundance will continue after the elections.

Finally, we wish to state that the issue of which post a particular individual should contest should ultimately be democratically decided upon the basis of the overall strategic and tactical factors directed towards the entire labour movement capturing political power from the capitalist ruling class. It should not be something to be left to the total discretion of individual Labour elements and or radical/ progressive individuals as done by some pro-democracy elements.

Segun Sango
General Secretary, DSM

[email protected]

Biodun Aremu
Convener, UAD

[email protected]